Friday, May 06, 2011

Benefits of attending classes...


Days like today make me wish I would bother to get myself off the bed every morning and implement some sort of a discipline to my life. I enjoy my classes when I turn up to them, but I usually do not seem to have the motivation to turn up, especially when they tell you that only eighty percent of attendance is compulsory, and even then, its negotiable.

However, this morning, I realised that I have already filled up my 20% quota of missing classes, therefore, I must turn up. I got a cafe macchiato (quite bitter, yet, surprisingly refreshing) because it was the only I could afford with the silver coins in my wallet. Its basically espresso, with a tiny bit of frothy milk. I poured three sachets of sugar and prayed to God that I would enjoy it. My last experience with espressos went quite bad - I threw it out after about three sips.

The first thought that popped to my head after the first sip was: 'why do you do this to yourself, L?' Second thought: 'I shall try to like it.' Being a psychology student, I know that this actually works. Attitude and behaviour affect each other. An experiment was done by giving a group of people something to listen to while they nod, and to another group, while they shake their heads. It was found that the nodding group tended to agree more to the message. So, I kept telling myself it would taste okay if I drink in small sips, I tried to imagine how awake I would feel and how much work I would get done after I finish the coffee. I also kept praying for it. :)

Result - I managed to gracefully finish the tiny cup of macchiato. And I actually liked it! That, my dears, is the power of imposing positive attitude/behaviour.

As you could tell from the previous posts, I have been thinking about my faith lately. And I realised, the result of this experiment actually shows one of the wisdoms behind the words that we say in our daily prayers. A lot of the words are the same, and they are words of praising God and asking for guidance. It had occurred to me in the past that, asking for guidance makes sense. I already know that God is above all, He has infinite power, wisdom, mercy and is Just, and I'm pretty sure God knows that too. Why do we need to praise Him? Why not just jump straight to asking? As an answer to this question, I was always told that when you ask something from someone, it is polite to say good things about them before you ask. This explanation never quite satisfied me, because, I know that God knows everything in my heart. He knows I will ask Him for something, why be polite?

However, now, I understand that it is actually for ourselves. When we repeat His praises, we are reconfirming them in our mind. I am saying them to myself, reminding myself of them - which is an 'action' (action of 'saying' it) - a 'behaviour'. This, in turn, would affect my attitude. It would renew my determination, trust and faith in Him. Therefore, God does not need to be praised, rather, we need it for our own selves.


But that is not the main point of this post (lol), as you have probably guessed (or not). I really do need to be more organised with my thoughts, and I plan to do so! In my other blog. If you visit this one, you are choosing to suffer from reading my thoughts as they pop up, even before I have a chance to organise them.

So, the main point of this post is, the Barnum Effect. This is one of the two things I learnt in class today (the coffee paid off in keeping me awake for a 9 am start!). The tutor handed out an analysis of every student that was done based on a handwriting sample we handed in. (The sample was handed in during the first week, naturally, I wasn't there.) It was about half a page, explaining their personalities. She told them to keep it to themselves while they read, and give it a score out of 10 on its truthfulness. When she recorded the scores, we noticed that most people rated the explanations by 8 or 9. There was only one 5. Then, she revealed that, there were no psychoanalysis on any handwriting. Everyone got the same piece of paper! Yet, in a class of about twenty, most people were fooled into thinking that their handwriting in fact reveals a lot about them. This, she explained, is the Barnum Effect - when you read a general statement, for example, in a horoscope, and think to yourself, hey! That perfectly applies to my life! This must be true!

I just thought I would post it, because, I remember having a long conversation with a blogger once, who tried his hardest to convince me that it is possible to predict a person's personality from his/her birthday. I hope you eventually come across this! :)

Ah - the perks of studying psychology from proper sources!


  1. I think the angles on ur shoulder (Keraaman and Khatebeen)just relax all day long and make a copy-past in their diary from ur prolific chronicle. thanks on their behalf.

  2. angels*. i think the 'angles' on my shoulder are quite right though. :P